Three tournaments – one 500, a pair of 250s – along with a WTA 125 and some high-level ITFs meant plenty of opportunities for the women to earn points and make moves last week.
There are a lot of points dropping from the San Diego tournament, a 500 that took place this past week a year ago but was played right after the US Open this year – and will be played the week right before Indian Wells next year.
So there will be some wonky moves because of that.
ON THE UPSWING
Barbora Krejcikova (CZE): No. 18 ==========> No. 13 (A late-season move by Krejcikova, who makes the Zhengzhou final and moves up five spots).
Zheng Qinwen (CHN): No. 24 ==========> No. 19 (Zheng gets back into the top 20 again with her effort at her namesake tournament in Zhengzhou, tying her career high. So soon after she was thrown over by coach Wim Fissette for Naomi Osaka, and as crushed as she was by that, this is the best revenge).
Lesia Tsurenko (UKR): No. 43 ==========> No. 34 (Tsurenko’s constantly fluctuating ranking is up, as the 34-year-old qualified and made it to the quarterfinals in Zhengzhou. She retired after losing the first set to Krejcikova, but left China and is the No. 4 seed this week in Tunisia. It’s her best ranking since Aug. 2019, with plenty of weeks outside the top 100 in between).
Leylah Fernandez (CAN): No. 60 ==========> No. 43 (A good goal for the Canadian, who fell down as far as No. 95 earlier this year, would have been to get back into the top 50 by the end of the season. That is mission accomplished in Hong Kong, where she took advantage of a great break in the opening round when No. 1 seed Victoria Azarenka – who had been rolling – came up with a leg injury and eventually had to retire. Fernandez took that break, and turned it into the best stretch of tennis she has played in … a long time. Her Hong Kong final was her first in 19 months, and her title the third of her career).
Katerina Siniakova (CZE): No. 85 ==========> No. 60 (Better known for her doubles accomplishments, Siniakova has been as high as No. 31 in singles. She’s finishing strongly after dealing with wrist issues this year, and battled hard in the Hong Kong final against Fernandez despite a couple leg issues).
Laura Siegemund (GER): No. 113 ==========> No. 91 (Siegemund has done a great job getting through qualifying when she needs to – last week in Zhengzhou, where she made the quarters, is an example. But she’s back in the top 100 now and will be straight into the Australian Open. Now the last bit of business is trying to qualify for the WTA Finals in doubles, a fight that is going down to the final week).
Emina Bektas (USA): No. 116 ==========> No. 104 (Another career high for the 30-year-old, who is playing the best tennis of her career. She was in good stead in the Seoul semifinals until a medical timeout for a leg injury slowed her down. Still, it’s a career high and she can think about getting straight into the Australian Open – for the first time in her career in a Grand Slam. It’s such a rise that 2022 was the first year Bektas even got into the qualifying at Slams).
Yuan Yue (CHN): No. 128 ==========> No. 106 (The 25-year-old from China is at a career high as she makes the Seoul final, where she was beaten by Jessica Pegula).
Erika Andreeva (RUS): No. 166 ==========> No. 130 (The older sister of Mirra moves up with a run from the qualies to the final in Rouen. She was beaten by Viktorija Golubic, but has a wild card into Monastir this week).
Alina Korneeva (RUS): No. 179 ==========> No. 165 (The 15-year-old who beat Mirra Andreeva at the Australian Open junior girls’ final in January is now 16, and she’s at a career high after qualifying and winning a round on Hong Kong).
Carol Zhao (CAN): No. 230 ==========> No. 219 (Only one win, at the WTA 500 in Zhengzhou, but at least progress in the right direction for Zhao, who is playing a high-level ITF this week).
Vera Zvonareva (RUS): No. 369 ==========> No. 272 (A nice leap for the 39-year-old, who qualified and won a round in Zhengzhou. She’s playing Nanchang this week, and looking for a spot in the WTA finals in doubles in the last week of the WTA’s “regular season”).
Alyson Van Uytvanck (BEL): No. 364 ==========> No. 296 (Van Uytvanck was out a long time with a back injury, and got married while she was out. But she has looked good since her return, and won an ITF in Reims this past week to move her real ranking back inside the top 300. It was Van Uytvanck’s first tournament since last February, when she was ranked No. 76).
Thasaporn Naklo (THA): No. 836 ==========> No. 436 (No, we don’t know her from a hole in the wall, but such a big jump in one week needs to be applauded. The 22-year-old adds points from two weeks of good work – from the qualifying to the final at an ITF in Makinohara, and a title in Shenzhen. Up 400 spots in the rankings – just like that).
Iva Jovic (USA): No. 9999 ==========> No. 668 (And watch out for 15-year-old Iva Jovic, a tidy little player out of California who won a $25K in Redding, Calif two weeks ago and won a round at a similar tournament in Florence, SC this past week. Those 50 points move her up … 9,331 spots in the rankings. They were just the third and fourth pro events for her; in her first, age 14, she qualified and went all the way to the final of a $15K in Los Angeles in July, 2022).
ON THE DOWNSWING
Donna Vekic (CRO): No. 21 ==========> No. 24 (Vekic lost in the second round in Zhengzhou, which didn’t come close to backing up the points she earned a year ago in San Diego. Vekic had to qualify in a brutally tough field last year, and went all the way to the final after beating Sakkari, Pliskova, Sabalenka and Collins before falling in three sets to Iga Swiatek in the final. It was a crazy-good run. She withdrew from her tournament this week, so it looks like the season is a wrap).
Danielle Collins (USA): No. 33 ==========> No. 47 (Collins didn’t play last week, and she’s another 2022 San Diegan who was defending points – a semifinal, in fact. So she drops out of the top 40).
Anna Blinkova (RUS): No. 37 ==========> No. 52 (Tough for Blinkova, who made the semis in Hong Kong before losing to Fernandez. She’s out of the top 50 because the Cluj-Napoca tournament was played last week a year ago, and she went from the qualies to the title there. Even a semifinal couldn’t make up all that ground).
Paula Badosa (ESP): No. 56 ==========> No. 64 (Badosa has been out since Rome – with the exception of one outing at Wimbledon – with a spine injury. And those two matches mean that she won’t have passed the six-month threshold out of action before the new season starts – and thus be able to take advantage of a protected ranking. Then again, she has one point to defend the rest of the year. So this is about where she’ll be when she comes back. She can work with that).
Kristina Mladenovic (FRA): No. 214 ==========> No. 254 (Mladenovic’s fall from the top 10 has been comprehensive and mystifying. She makes the quarterfinal at an ITF in Shenzhen, but drops 40 spots as she was defending a title at a $60K ITF in Tunisia a year ago, when she was ranked No. 136 and already struggling . Her current coach is listed as … her mother).
THE SINGLES RACE
The eight players qualified for the WTA Finals later this month were determined a week ago.
THE DOUBLES RACE
Two teams remain in the running for one spots in the doubles race to Cancún – one of them wth heavy Canadian content. Unless Zvonareva and Siegemund win the Nanchang tournament, Leylah Fernandez and Taylor Townsend are in.